Back in April, Anthony Bourdain visited some of his old stomping grounds (and new ones) in the East Village and Lower East Side for an episode of Parts Unknown, chatting with numerous local characters along the way. It’s unclear what will happen with this and other episodes Bourdain was filming prior to his unexpected death last week, so we spoke with some of the featured artists and business owners about their experiences with a reporter and raconteur who was known for keeping it real.
In case you missed the history lesson in Captured, the documentary about the Lower East Side documentarian, the Clayton cap was created in 1986, when Patterson discovered a couple of mom-and-pop shops on Avenue A that did iron-ons and embroidery. “A lot of the street gangs would go in there and cut out their letters and iron them on their jackets,” Clayton remembered. When Clayton realized the shop could also make custom baseball hats, the first Clayton cap was born.
Last week, Elliot Caldwell was fatally shot outside of Campos Plaza, the NYCHA public housing project where he’d grown up. An EV Grieve commenter noted that the 23-year-old had been arrested in 2013 when the Manhattan DA busted alleged members of the Money Boyz, a coke-dealing gang based out of the East Village housing project. DNAinfo wrote that a woman claiming to be Caldwell’s aunt told reporters: “He was a great father. He changed his life for his son. He just got caught up in a bad situation.”
The NYPD told B+B that the suspect in Caldwell’s shooting is described as a “black male wearing a red hoodie,” who “fled from the scene on foot.” So far there have been no arrests, and police say the investigation is ongoing.
Last year, Clayton Patterson announced that he and Elsa Rensaa, his partner and collaborator of more than 40 years, were moving from the Lower East Side to a small spa town in Austria. Lucky for anyone who admires his unflagging commitment to keeping it real and his tirades against the processes of gentrification and corporatization (see: his damning of Taylor Swift as the city’s cultural ambassador), the 66-year-old outsider artist, photographer, tattoo artist, dissident, and haberdasher who is known to many as the neighborhood’s “last bohemian” is not just still residing there, he also has a new solo exhibition. If you haven’t had a chance to see “Outside In” at Howl! Happening, tonight is the night to do so: the gallery will be screening Captured, the must-see documentary about Clayton’s obsessive documentation of the city as it once was.
Just in case Chico’s cheeky memorial doesn’t get the message across to Taylor Swift and the New York trolling tourism board, another LES legend, Clayton Patterson, has come up with a video response to her appointment as the city’s Global Welcome Ambassador. Above, check out Taylor celebrating Patterson’s footage from the ’88 Tompkins Square Park riot, GG Allin’s last show, and drag and hardcore shows at places like The Pyramid (which recently experienced a corporate co-opting of this own). Patterson emailed it to us along with the thoughts below.
Speaking of artistic tributes to the neighborhood, here’s the latest mural to go up on the E&S Wholesome Foods wall, on Essex Street. No, it doesn’t say “Welcome to the LES, now leave,” but close!
When the last remaining location of Kim’s Video & Music announced it was closing for good, most agreed it was just another nail in the coffin, the latest reminder of what the Times called “a downtown culture now largely lost.”
It’s going to be a throwback weekend off of Tompkins Square Park. Not only is Clayton Patterson holding court Friday at Pyramid Club, but on Saturday and Sunday, the annual concerts commemorating the Tompkins Square Park Riot — which he so famously documented — return to the park.
In addition to performances by hippie holdover David “The Pope Smokes Dope” Peel and the usual array of hardcore/punk bands with names like Nihilistics and Transgendered Jesus (no Porno Dracula this year?), parkgoers will be treated to a free installment of The Voluptuous Horror of Karen Black, courtesy of the East Village’s own Kembra Pfahler.
Back when The Times triggered laments of “RIP LES” by reporting that Clayton Patterson was leaving the neighborhood for the Austrian Alps, we knew we wouldn’t be seeing the last of the legendary documentarian — and he told us as much. So it’s no surprise to hear that Patterson is teaming up with DAMEHT — the band that put on his farewell exhibit, “The $16 Dollar Burger Show” — for a show at Pyramid Club this Friday.
Word that Clayton Patterson was leaving the Lower East Side for Austria really rattled those who considered him the neighborhood’s “last bohemian,” as the Times headline dubbed him. Could the man who documented the Tompkins Square Park riots and the underground scenes of the ’80s and ’90s East Village, founded a gallery of “outlaw art,” and edited epic histories of LES radicalism, filmmaking and Jewish culture really be leaving the hood whose denizens he’s photographed religiously? We, for one, had to find out.